07 June 2004 15:56 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--French energy and petrochemicals group Total said Monday it will invest Euro6m ($7.3m) in a new solar panel production plant near Toulouse in southwest France.
The investment follows the group's promise to create new jobs in the greater Toulouse area after closure of the AZF fertiliser plant. Operated by Grand Paroisse, a subsidiary of Total unit Atofina, the Toulouse fertiliser plant of AZF was destroyed in an explosion nearly three years ago in which 31 people died.
To be operated by Total Technologies, a new wholly-owned subsidiary of Total Energie (in which Total has a 35% stake and Electricite de France has 45%), the solar panel plant is expected to create around 70 jobs.
It will have the capacity to produce solar panels capable of generating 15 megawatts of electricity per year, said Total. This is equal to about 6% of overall annual European solar power generating capacity, according to the firm. It is also some ten times greater than the overall capacity of photovoltaic systems connected to the electricity grid in metropolitan France at the end of last year.
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